Reading Comprehension GRE Question Types
Nearly all GRE questions fall into 11 distinct types:
Macro Questions—cover general issues
I. Main Idea
II. Purpose of the Passage
IV. Organization of the Passage
V. Category of Writing (Advanced)
VI. Identity of the Author (Advanced)
Micro Questions—refer to specific elements of the essay
VII. Detail of the Passage
VIII. Definition of a Term or Phrase
IX. Support for a Premise – Proof and Evidence
X. Function of Part of the Passage (Advanced)
Solving Macro Questions
To answer a macro question, you need to understand how the major parts of the passage fit together. This is why we use Five Questions (The Five Steps):
Question 1. What is the passage type?
Question 2. What is each paragraph about?
Question 3. What is the organization? Create a mental road map.
Question 4. What is the Big Idea?
Question 5. What is the author’s purpose?
The Five Questions are an effective means for answering macro questions because they enable you to focus on the passage’s “big issues.”
As you read the passage, look for answers to the Five Questions. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to answer the macro questions without going back to the passage. You will then have plenty of time for answering the micro questions.